We are all too aware that changes need to be made and asks ‘What would you like to see be changed?’
(SJ says, “I would like” because her grandmother always said, “I want – never gets”!)
Here is a list of some of the changes the Tree House dwellers long for;
I would like to see the deaf community put their differences aside and work together to improve access. I wish they would realise no one is superior or inferior to another.
I would like to see a bridge built between people of every walk of life (deaf and hearing for example) working together to establish common ground and to work out ways to bridge gaps that exist between the two camps.
I would like to see the deaf community unite regardless of different communication abilities to work towards the same aims because that would make inroads more.
I would like to see a day when being deaf does not feel like being punished for something you did not do!
I would like peace because I am a troubled person.
I would like people to stop having one rule for themselves and another for others because that is just selfish and unfair.
I would like change to happen from the top down so everyone is equal regardless of whether they are deaf, HoH, deafblind, blind, hearing or different in any other way.
I would like to see respect and tolerance between all human beings across the planet, and the gap between rich and poor hugely reduced.
I would like people to realise just how diverse the deaf community is and that not everyone is reliant on the same assumed method(s) of communication.
I would like to see the deaf community and the hearing world to look at the full picture instead of looking at one spot constantly and focus on the diversity cos we all are diverse and lastly unique…
I condemn all acts of terrorism especially where innocent people have to die.
Muslims seem to lose either way. They are constantly asked to apologise for crimes they did not commit nor supported. They are stuck between the extremists and fanatics on either sides. Most Muslims want to work providing for their family and get on with life in harmony, just like the police officer, Ahmed Merabet wanted to, who was also killed yesterday. I am certain not many people know that he was a Muslim because the media did not mention this until much later on but there was no news of what religions the others were. It does not matter to the media because it is not sensational enough and does not go with the narrative of their headlines. This police officer paid with his life trying to do his job as a just person. The far right are striving in France and this will be an opportunity for them to milk this sad situation to their advantages. Sadly the bigots will jump on the band wagon of hatred without any thoughts to the consequences.
Charlie Hebdo was founded in 1970 and since then they have been relentless in mocking everybody in a very aggressive manner. They have a long history of provoking a wide range of people based on their choices and beliefs. Many of their satirical cartoons are tasteless, violent and sexually explicit – depicting many religious figures and politicians.
In 2012 the French government condemned Charlie Hebdo for publishing caricatures depicting Prophet Mohammed. They even urged the magazine to reconsider their decision in publishing the material but they refused. As a result the French government decided to take security measures to protect their embassies and consulates around the world. They also increased security around Charlie Hebdo’s offices. The magazine was determined in pursuit of what they believed is their right to mock others through “Free Speech”. While they are free to publish what they like with the exception of any anti-Semitic content, the law could not stop them or any of their provocative material but there is an unwritten rule to be respectful to others in every walk of life – regardless, in my opinion. You might be walking down an extremely narrow path and someone walks up towards you so you decide to step aside in order to let them go through first. This is what humanity is all about. Why do we have to be so nasty, oppressive and/or so hurtful towards one another?
There are those who will poke fun at disabled people – does anyone still remember Glenn Hoddle? When he remarked disabled people had been punished for their previous life (not very clever) and as a consequence he was sacked from his position as an England football manager. While there is nothing set in law to prosecute him with, the FA still acted and sacked him to show such opinions will not be tolerated.
My point being, freedom of speech is important but we need to hold back at our own discretion if we feel what we might say or do is hurtful towards others. There will always be people who want to push the boundaries and there is nothing wrong with that but freedom of speech cannot be used as an excuse to hide behind from when their actions has consequences and they should expect the same level of freedom of speech back especially when in a democratic state.
My main worry at this point in time is how society is reacting based on what the media wants us to see and believe regarding the cartoons. First it was Denmark, now France – next it will be the UK. When the World Trade Centre was targeted on the 11th of September (9/11), we suspected London would be next but not when. We also knew that the London public transport system would be targeted as that is what would have hurt the city most. If the Waging a dirty war. continues to retaliate to this sad state of affairs regarding the cartoons with the same kind of mockery that provoked all this, their offices could be next.
Any perceived anti-Semitism would be handled straightaway and the offenders promptly dealt with. Yet for any other religions, any anti views are sadly casually tolerated which I find very unfair because the same law should apply to all religions. By being respectful and mindful of others at all times would nip any anti views in the bud and would avoid that cataclysmic chain reaction of events spiralling out of anyone’s control. As for censorship? Do not even try to hide behind that excuse because no one ever sees what actually happens to the people of Palestine and other war torn countries: Waging a dirty war.
Is the Ku Klux Klan a representative of Christians? So why do many think Terrorists are representative of Muslims? Fanatics or extremists does not define their religion come what may except distorts the truth behind it – all religions which asks for submission to the one and only same god is about peace and humanity. A true believer would not stoop so low to harm another because their religion (should) forbids it. Unfortunately people not in the know or are well informed regarding a particular religion will accept that distortion all too readily. It is those who are the most sincere in their hearts that suffer the most from all this due to fanatics and others attributing excuses.
Thank you for allowing me to practise free speech – with respect comes peace.
Life in itself is one big challenge, testing us daily to see how we fare. The results of which moulds us over time into whom we are and for some who we do not want to become. It is up to us, as and when to introspect, seeing the errors of our ways if any, to tackle and improve on these traits. It is also up to us how we deal with these daily challenges. Do we react instinctively or take a step back and contemplate? The latter is not so hard to do.
More often than not, reacting instinctively leads to destruction, sending one into a negative state of despair. Almost certainly sending you on a downwards spiral towards a quagmire, which can be a very dark place to be?
Once that point of “trying to stay afloat” is reached, be it by another’s hand or words, it is time to review the situation why, who or what got you there in the first place and nip it in the bud. Find the negativity and turn it a positive because even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.
“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.”
― Abraham Lincoln.
In order to get the best that we deserve, we need to give and do our best otherwise; one will get what they give. To react constructively comes, positivity in the knowledge and confidence that we have tried our best whilst remaining dignified in the face of justice. Only then, can we reflect and feel positively rewarded.
I always say, “Keep on smiling – it is free and does wonders” so take the first step in being positive by smiling. To strangers, to your friends and families – in smiling, you are instinctively changing your outlook, your moods and the glow on your face.
By smiling, you could be helping someone else – without even realising it. It takes an extremely special someone to rise above giving what he or she got, in order to be kinder on themselves and others.
You too can be this person.
Carpe diem. Onwards and upwards – Positivity rules!
Because it rocks.
Wishing each and every one of you best wishes for the new year – wherever you may be.
Being in the public eye for the past two years has subjected me to many forms of online abuse be it indirectly or directly. I have witnessed the “mob mentality” escalate appallingly fast when someone may have a different school of thought, or by simply being different. Take the time for example when I was attacked for choosing to speak instead of sign in my BBC interview. I naturally speak when I am with hearing people as I am more comfortable doing so yet my choice to speak was not respected by those who demanded that I signed just because I come from a deaf family. I was put between a rock and a hard place and I was damned if I did sign and damned if I didn’t. The sheer number of sheep flocking was astonishing – thank God I am not a sheep! These days, too many people take advantage of peer pressure to manipulate and dictate others what to do.
“Hate, it has caused a lot of problems in the world, but has not solved one yet.” – Maya Angelou.
There will always be someone who can put forwards different perspectives on issues and situations due to their experiences in life and knowledge, making the impact for change greater – surely everyone deserves to be respected with kindness just as much as the next person regardless? It is extremely healthy to have variations of viewpoints so one can be educated and decide – especially for themselves.
When having a different opinion one tends to be singled out as a “Troll” yet to single that person out as a troll must be another form of abuse in itself.
However I have recently experienced a new form of online abuse and I have been left saddened by it. This experience has made me want to retreat, have nothing at all to do with the world-wide web to distance myself from all the negativity and to restrain myself from reacting. Life is far too short.
To go onto social media and post potentially libellous material which names a person, persons and so on when they cannot defend themselves surely must be another form of online abuse? Especially when there is no evidence that the named party has attacked or done anything wrong yet people feel the urge to personally attack the named party? And what’s worse, people adopting the “mob mentality” by joining in and adding fuel to the fire. No one is born with hatred – it is instilled and mimicked. If only respect worked in the same sense.
Seeing that occur from a distance opened my eyes and I soon realised I had been in the very same position numerous times now. Unfortunately I know I am not alone in this experience for a friend of mine was personally attacked recently by someone posting a video onto social media publicly naming him and criticising him. If only he had sorted his dispute out privately with the named person – he would not be now known as a bully within our circle of mutual friends.
I will not tolerate or condone any form of online abuse around me especially bullying. I made it clear that I would not stand for this within the Tree House in the form of personal attacks (or when we are named outside the safety perimeters of the Tree House which subsequently is inviting us to take action) or be associated with those seen to be contributing to the very public online form of abuse. Yet making it clear, I was inevitably set upon. My position as founder in trying to protect the Tree House from any potential damage was questioned, undermined. oppressed and criticised. Being unbiased and diplomatic sets myself apart from others and this helps me to look outside the box – as always I will do as I deem just, adapting to each situation based on my experience. Was my being criticised and slated another form of online abuse? Maybe not in their eyes but it certainly felt like it to me.
To have thick skin is very important and deaf people are extremely vulnerable to the various forms of abuse, be it online, within society, at school, at work and unfortunately at home. In all walks of life, there will always be that someone who will try to drag others down no matter who they may be, for being different. My scars have healed over many times now hence why my skin has grown thicker and if I can refuse to be manipulated, so can you. Positivity rules!
Do not encourage any form of online abuse because these emotions which are associated with being bullied will exhibit themselves within the victim(s).
◾Difficulty trusting others
The offenders’ hatred should not dictate your time and you would only be lowering yourself to their level if you join in or encourage it. Rise above it because people who show their true colours in this manner deserve to be reported to the police so keep a record of all the evidence and present it in order to take action. I have done this in the past being a victim and they have listened – they issued warnings to the offending parties. With actions comes consequences – if they can dish it out, they can certainly take it.
Please, don’t have one rule for yourself and another for others – put yourself in the victim’s shoes and walk hundreds of miles in it first, taking a look in the mirror before passing any judgement or criticism.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jnr.
It is about time online abuse in its various forms is stopped. Help by being a part of that change in stopping personal attacks, cyber bullying and all forms of online harassment. Fight back – especially for justice.
Update: Defamatory gossip is now being spread about The Tree House and myself which is once again another form of abuse – Please keep evidence of this as we have built up a case which we have taken action on with positive results.
The moment I read Teresa Garraty’s article on Limping Chicken “Is it time for deaf people to be a little less angry?” I knowingly smiled. I felt she made her point which in my eyes, from my own more than fair share of experience, was justified.
Her article very bravely made light of the facts around us because: “it is relatively true and reminds people not to take things so seriously. Not to be so immersed and concentrated. Not to be fighting all the time. It is not directed at people who campaign tirelessly but at the attitude within societies that give off those vibes of us not being a welcoming and positive community which is in turn misleading them?” As I gave my response on the back of it amongst other rather emotive feedback and watched some bitterness simmering which once again only confirmed Teresa’s whole point?
I concluded, “I just think if we come across as “angry” we won’t be heard but seen as just that. I can see her points from being on other teams and since I left those I can see those attributes which I have shrugged off as I do not want to be seen as demanding or “angry” but as welcoming and positive. Which would make inroads more? Being welcoming or being “angry” which is how hearing society is perceiving us? Hence why I said it’s misleading them because we aren’t angry. Some only appear angry. Most do react as though they are angry.’”
“When anger rises, think of the consequences.” – Confucius
With actions comes consequences: relatively soon after her initial supposedly “controversial” article, Teresa followed up with what she meant by her angry deaf people article to explain in depth, apologising to those she did not intend to cause any offence to, which I thought was admirable of her because members of the public chose to take offence? I was very concerned to learn that she was bullied as a result of her tongue in cheek article. This was sadly inevitable knowing how society behaves, yet it could have been avoided if people within the deaf community had their sense of humour about them. But perhaps their true colours were exposed instead? Who knows. I personally think Teresa should have been warned of potential back-lash from the more experienced writers and contributors but there is only so much people can help others with. Out of a negative, comes a positive. Teresa, in my eyes, is now wiser and more experienced regarding people’s ways.
Nowadays when someone reacts angrily, I am instantly reminded of Teresa’s article and once again smile. I know for a fact a friend of mine is on guard with the article ready to present before the offending party. That is who he is but for me, I so just know it is going to wind them up even more. ‘Tis best to let things be. Why? Because we can. There is no point in dwelling over an iota of bitterness because that iota is only going to grow into an ounce, which in time will weigh tons; becoming overbearing and diseasing your mind along with your soul. Paranoia will also creep in which one will eventually pass onto those around them. Deal with it.
“There are two things a person should never be angry at, what they can help and what they cannot.” – Plato
Lone campaigners have the passion and desire to see change out of frustration, due to the pace or finances others impose. This is highly admirable because it is a voluntary action which means sacrificing valuable personal time and sweat for a cause they believe in – I pay respect to each and every one who find it in themselves to be subjected to intense passion and genuine interest from the bottom of their hearts. It frustrates me still, to see “friends” patting each other’s backs behind the scenes. It is happening everywhere, the most blindingly obvious has to be the government who more or less went to school with one another.
We have seen several hardened and angry members enter the Tree House who over time have mellowed wonderfully and stayed on, with their sense of humour, trying to resist the urge to come out and joke along. Naturally there will always be one or two who lose their footing along the way but since people know how it feels to be bullied, isolated, singled out, put down and how it hurts to be kicked whilst down after so long, it has automatically become second nature to us to help them up on their way again. It is what you, the people are making it.
It is always healthy to exercise our free speech as nature intended, within reason and respect, in order to teach others. In the past I have been dictated to, to not say this, to not post that, to delete this, to remove that especially when what I said or had done in the first place was justified. How else will people learn, reflect upon, see things and others for what/who they truly are? There is always a balance and only a wise, experienced person will know when to control themselves.
“Never look down on someone unless you are helping them up”